Detectives investigating a Winchester Bay homicide appear to be focusing on a North Bend man who was arrested after a San Francisco-area crime spree.
Jeffrey Boyce, 30, was arrested Monday in Marin, Calif., after holding two people at gunpoint in separate carjackings. A rifle and ammunition were found with him, and he had told his mother he intended to seek asylum at the Russian Consulate. Boyce is also believed to be a Boston Marathon bombing sympathizer according to various reports.
Boyce threatened the hostage in his second carjacking by saying he “already took somebody down,” multiple San Francisco news media reported Tuesday.
Also Tuesday, OSP announced that investigators had tentatively identified the female victim in the Winchester Bay slaying. They were awaiting confirmation of her identity from the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, which was conducting an autopsy on Tuesday, an OSP news release said.
But a California man told The World he believes his sister-in-law is the victim.
John Sandstrom of Ventura County said his sister-in-law, Kirsten Englund, 56, was driving north from her home in Castro Valley, to visit her sons in Oregon and her sister in Washington.
Sandstrom said family members were contacted by police Monday who said Englund’s car had been found at Wayfinding Point, with a body next to it. They asked for pictures of her and any identifying marks or characteristics.
Englund had visited one son, who attends Humboldt State University, then stayed at a hotel, Sandstrom said. She called her sister at 7 a.m. the next day and said she was leaving to see her other son, who attends Oregon State University.
The family has made repeated phone calls to her cell phone without a response, Sandstrom said.
According to the Douglas County sheriff’s log, the victim’s nude body was found in blackberry bushes Sunday morning. The Wayfinding Point, near the Umpqua Lighthouse, is a popular spot for whale watching.
An OSP news release Tuesday said investigators had identified a suspect in the case and had searched a home in the Coos Bay area. The suspect’s name was being withheld due to the ongoing investigation, but the news release said two detectives had gone to California to interview the suspect.
Police Lt. Jeff Taylor of the suburban Rohnert Park Police Department said two OSP detectives were going there to interview Boyce, though he did not say whether Boyce was the suspect in the Winchester Bay homicide.
Boyce’s mother, Diane Boyce, told Coos County sheriff’s deputies that Boyce had been displaying paranoid and psychotic behavior in recent weeks. Sheriff’s Sgt. Pat Downing said Diane Boyce reported her son went through a “psychotic” episode over the past two weeks. Boyce told his mother someone had bugged his house and truck and was trying to kill him. He also told her he would seek asylum at the Russian Consulate in San Francisco.
Diane Boyce reportedly hadn’t seen her son since Saturday, but she received a call from a 707 area code between Saturday and Monday morning and was able to narrow down her son’s approximate whereabouts.
Coos County authorities sent a bulletin to OSP and Northern California police agencies, asking them for an update on Jeffrey Boyce’s well-being, Downing said.
“Our investigation is pretty much done,” Downing said, “His welfare is pretty well-known.”
A news release from Rohnert Part police said the carjacker had approached a woman’s truck window and pointed an “AK-47” style rifle at her head.
When officers arrested Boyce, they found several hundred 7.62mm bullets, six 30-round magazines, a loaded .22-caliber rifle and a tactical vest in the pickup Boyce left behind. He is also reported to have transported several rifles from his truck to the first victim’s vehicle.
Downing told The World there was nothing apparent in Boyce’s history — such as a felony arrest, a restraining order or an involuntary psychiatric hold — that would have stopped him under federal or Oregon law from buying and registering the guns he was carrying. Boyce received a concealed weapons permit in Coos County in June 2012.
Reporters George Artsitas, Emily Thornton and Thomas Moriarty contributed to this story.